As parents, it is our job to raise our little ones into productive, happy, successful, and compassionate individuals. At times, it may seem daunting to accomplish these goals, but when it comes down to it, it is simply habits that will help us uplift and encourage our children to be the best versions of themselves that they can be.
In previous articles, we’ve discussed raising successful children, happy children, and even hard-working children. But today, I would like to touch on a topic that I believe is far more important: raising compassionate children. When you think about it, compassion is the building block on which all of those things are possible. Without compassion, our lives can feel pretty meaningless. The good news is, to raise compassionate kids, you need to only make sure you do these 9 things.
1. Treat your child with respect.
One of the best things you can do if you want to raise a compassionate child is treat them with respect. The thing about respect is that it is earned. And if your child never feels like they are respected, they aren’t going to be able to easily understand what respect is to give to others.
2. Model compassion.
If you want your child to be compassionate, they need to understand what compassion is. The main way they will learn this is to see it in your behaviors and habits. Because you can preach compassion all day, but at the end of the day, your child is far more likely to do as you do than as you say.
3. Emotionally coach your child.
When your child is upset, guide them through it. Help them to label their emotions and teach them how to handle them. Encourage them to be open with their emotions and feelings, rather than invalidating them.
4. Express gratitude.
Make gratitude a daily practice. Verbally express things aloud to your child, how grateful you are for small things. And encourage them to do the same.
5. Boost your child’s feeling vocabulary.
Point out the emotions and feelings of others. For example, when you see someone who is upset, say “Do you see that little girl? She looks sad.” Teach your child different names and labels for their feelings, so they can empathize better.
6. Point out bad behavior.
Additionally, when people are rude or uncompassionate, point it out to your child. For example, if a cashier is rude to you and your child says, “That lady must have been having a really bad day to talk to us in such a harsh tone. What are your thoughts?”
7. Acknowledge kindness.
And when someone does something nice, point that out too. “Wow! That is so kind of that young man to help that lady across the street.” Or, “That man let me get over just in time. That was so kind of him.”
8. Encourage generosity.
When your child’s old toys begin to become worn out, encourage them to donate them to a local charity. Or, have them help you to clean out the cabinets to give to a local food drive. You can even bake some cookies to give to a local shelter.
9. Be patient.
Above all, be patient. It takes children time to understand compassion. They are going to have days when they just don’t seem to get it. When that happens, your best course of action is going to be to remain patient with them.